Saturday, March 16th – The O2 Arena in London, England
The UFC is back in London at about the same time they were last year, and the card is headlined by Liverpool’s Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal, who is back in action for the first time since November 2017. The co-main event pits streaking Leon Edwards against Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson and filling out the card is an important light heavyweight matchup between Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes, London’s own Nathaniel Wood and the return of Joe Duffy.
The preliminaries kick off @ 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT with the main card starting @ 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT streaming live on ESPN+.
Main Card (ESPN+ 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT)
- 5-Round Welterweight Bout: Jorge Masvidal def. Darren Till via KO (punch) 3:05, R2
- Welterweight Bout: Leon Edwards def. Gunnar Nelson via split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
- Light Heavyweight Bout: Dominick Reyes def. Volkan Oezdemir via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Bantamweight Bout: Nathaniel Wood def. José Alberto Quiñónez via submission (rear-naked choke) 2:46, R2
- Welterweight Bout: Cláudio Silva def. Danny Roberts via verbal submission (armbar) 3:37, R3
- Catchweight Bout (188): Jack Marshman def. John Phillips via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Preliminary Card (ESPN+ 1:00PM ET/10:00AM PT)
- Featherweight Bout: Arnold Allen def. Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
- Lightweight Bout: Marc Diakiese def. Joseph Duffy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Light Heavyweight Bout: Saparbek Safarov def. Nicolae Negumereanu via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-27)
- Featherweight Bout: Dan Ige def. Danny Henry via submission (rear-naked choke) 1:17, R1
- Women’s Flyweight Bout: Molly McCann def. Priscila Cachoeira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Featherweight Bout: Mike Grundy def. Nad Narimani via TKO (punches) 4:42, R2
Since Jon Jones has returned to the light heavyweight picture, the division has seen an emergence of contenders. It’s a breath of fresh air since in the last few years we have seen only a few of the same title challengers. Daniel Cormier seems to be done with the division, focusing on ending his career at heavyweight. After that, Jones has his work cut out for him. Up next for Jones could very well be Thiago Santos, who has made waves in the division after moving up from middleweight. Alexander Gustafsson will be fighting recent challenger Anthony Smith in the summer. Corey Anderson is also on a win streak and awaiting what’s next for him. Then there’s the dark horse, Dominick ‘The Devastator’ Reyes who will face former title challenger Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir this weekend. If Reyes can keep his win streak going, we could very well see him next in line for a shot at the champ.
Volkan Oezdemir seems like he came out of nowhere when he was picked up by the UFC. A former kickboxer and Bellator fighter, Volkan made his debut in 2017 and won a split decision against former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux. In his next fight, he stopped the hype train and 8-fight win streak of Misha Cirkunov and then dropped title contender Jimi Manuwa. Both of those fights ended in under a minute, which explains the nickname ‘No Time’. Since then, Volkan has dropped two straight – to then champion Daniel Cormier and most recently Anthony Smith. Now on the first losing streak of his career, Volkan is in a must-win situation as the light heavyweight picture is heating up.
It’s hard to believe that Dominick Reyes debuted back in 2017 when he seems like a fresh addition to the light heavyweight title picture. The 29-year-old Reyes is undefeated at 10-0 and had one bout in LFA before signing with the UFC. Reyes finished Joachim Christensen, Jeremy Kimball, Jared Cannonier and had a near-finish on former title challenger Ovince Saint Preux back in October. Reyes is excited for the ‘brawler vs. kind-of-boxer’ matchup this weekend and is ready to show the division that it’s ‘his turn’.
UFC Fight Night: Till Vs. Masvidal streams live on ESPN+ with the main card starting at 4:00PM ET/1:00PM PT.
Jorge Masvidal returns to the octagon for the first time since November 2017 to face England native Darren Till in London.
Two highly competitive strikers will meet on March 16th across the pond as welterweights Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal are both looking to get back into the win column. Till, fresh off his loss to champion Tyron Woodley and Masvidal, looking to shake off the rust of not fighting for 16 months.
Darren Till will enter the cage for the first time in March and not have an undefeated record under his name. That 0 was taken from him by welterweight champion Tyron Woodley back in September. After starting out his career 17-0-1, wins against tough veteran Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and former title challenger Stephen Thompson garnered Till a title shot, his first fight in the states, and it didn’t go according to plan. After mulling over moving up to light heavyweight after the loss, it looks like Till has at least one more fight at welterweight.
Jorge Masvidal hasn’t fought since losing a decision to Stephen Thompson at UFC 217 in November 2017, couple that with a loss to Demian Maia months earlier, and I’m sure Masvidal wants to get the taste of that losing streak out of his mouth. Before that, Masvidal was riding a different kind of streak that included wins over Ross Pearson, Jake Ellenberger and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone before falling short of a title shot bid against Maia.
Masvidal is a friend and training partner of Colby Covington, the interim welterweight champion at the moment. Till had lobbied for a fight with Covington, but it looks like Masvidal’s request worked out better. It will be interesting to see if Masvidal’s time off shows, because Till is eager to get back in there and learn from his mistakes, as he’s back on his quest to become a champion.
UFC Fight Night: Till Vs. Masvidal will air on ESPN+ Saturday, March 16th from The O2 Arena in London, England.